Cooperative Extension Service
The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Your source for pest management and pesticide news

April 2000/Volume 23, no. 4

INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT

We have a special offer for cotton producers, and we need your help

HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT

The EPA and OSHA have issued a chemical advisory for 2,4 DCP, a chemical feedstock for herbicides
According to Biology of Reproduction (3-00), a metabolite of methoxychlor insecticide may contribute to male infertility
The Berkeley School of Public Health has begun a five-year study to investigate environmental health concerns of infants and childrenL
Quick! What is the worst pesticide of all time?
A report on the show '20/20' -- that organically grown produce carries greater amounts of bacteria when compared with conventionally produced foods
Additional evidence indicates that amphibian populations are declining worldwide, and some people think pesticide use may be partly responsible
According to USDA, U.S. introduction of the Siberian moth would make us forget about gypsy moth problems

FQPA

The EPA has released the revised risk assessment for ethyl parathion
The EPA is asking for comments on the revised risk assessment of phosmet
Revised risk assessments for disulfoton (Phorate) are available
The EPA faces a difficult challenge in deciding how much of the population to protect

BIOTECHNOLOGY

Representative D. Kucinich introduced a bill that would require all genetically modified food to be subject to the food additive review process of FDA
According to USDA, American farmers will plant significantly less acreage to genetically modified crops this year
Ralph Nader is calling for additional regulation of biotechnology

NEW TOOLS

Georgia has issued a Special Local Need registration for in-state growers to use clomazone (Command) to control grass and dicot weeds in squash
Look for "Flycracker," a new biodegradable pesticide, to control fly larvae
Spinosad and/or phloxine B (a red dye) may prove to be an effective alternative to malathion to control Mediterranean fruit fly
USDA scientists have identified corn lines that European corn borers find less attractive

FEDERAL NEWS

If you want to know where your government dollars are going (and you have the guts to look), seek out the Federal Register
If you need to know the latest on methyl bromide
The EPA 6(a)(2) regulation seems to be in conflict with attorney-client privileged information
The EPA wants to resolve the 'inert' issue within a year

Integrated Pest Management

We have a special offer for cotton producers, and we need your help. Along with Mark Risse, we have developed a survey tool to measure your implementation of IPM in cotton. If you will be part of our project, you will receive 1) a clear picture of IPM on your farm and areas for improvement, 2) one hour of pesticide recertification credit from the Georgia Department of Agriculture, and 3) a free subscription to the Georgia Pest Management Newsletter.

Your part of the project is not difficult, and it will not take a lot of your time. We will ask you to complete a survey of your cotton IPM strategies, such as scouting, weed management, etc. The survey will take no longer than 15-20 minutes. The survey also comes with information about how you can improve IPM on your operation. Send the survey into us. After the cotton season is over, we will call you for a 5-10 minute telephone interview to see if this project has helped you.

We hope to achieve several important results from this project.

1) Georgia is doing a good job in cotton IPM. Pesticide use is only a fraction of what it once was. However, our growers are not getting proper credit. This project will demonstrate how much cotton IPM has progressed.

2) With this IPM information, Georgia cotton will become the IPM benchmark for all other cotton states to follow. With increased public scrutiny and concern about pesticides, it would be valuable for public relations, regulatory relations, and marketing for us Georgia to be the recognized IPM leader in cotton.

3) You will help our cotton research team focus research on the areas in which you need more information to produce cotton more efficiently.

Health and the Environment

The EPA and OSHA have issued a chemical advisory for 2,4 DCP, a chemical feedstock for herbicides. Skin exposure to small amounts of this heated chemical can kill. This advisory will be addressed to workers in chemical plants, not for consumers or people who live near a chemical plant. For more information, contact Joe Carra at EPA (202-260-1815 or carra.joe@epa.gov)
(U. of Me. Campus Safety News, 3-2000).

 According to Biology of Reproduction (3-00), a metabolite of methoxychlor insecticide may contribute to male infertility. The researchers report that rat Leydig cells (the cells that produce testosterone), produce less of the hormone when exposed to a metabolite of methoxychlor. (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 3-16-00)

The Berkeley School of Public Health has begun a five-year study to investigate environmental health concerns of infants and children. The study will track more than 500 women through pregnancy (and until the children are two years old) and evaluate their exposure to pesticides, dust, endotoxins, and allergens in order to determine the effects of environmental exposures.

The study will be conducted in the Salinas Valley in California. The Valley was chosen because there is considerable year-round agriculture. (Calif. Agriculture, 9,10-99)

Quick! What is the worst pesticide of all time? Did you say DDT? What pesticide has directly saved more human lives than all other pesticides put together? The answer, again, is probably DDT. Do not forget that malaria strikes up to billion people each year, 90 percent in Africa. DDT is an inexpensive tool for a mosquito control program. An editorial in the American Council on Health Sciences warns that the ban on DDT in Mozambique could exacerbate their flooding problems because malaria may become rampant. Many southern African nations have resumed DDT sprays to help control malaria. (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 3-23-00) It is very easy for us in the United States to point the finger at other countries and their pesticide use. What if you were asked to choose between DDT sprays and increased risk of malaria for your children?

A report on the show '20/20' reported that organically grown produce carries greater amounts of bacteria when compared with conventionally produced foods. The report indicated that bacterial contamination was greatest for organic foods, although it was not clear if the bacteria were hazardous to human health. (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 2-25-00). These results are not surprising; organic farmers often use manures to fertilize their crops. If the manures and foods are properly handled and applied, the human risk from bacteria on the food is very low. Likewise, pesticide risks are generally very low if the pesticides are applied in strict accordance with the label.

Additional evidence indicates that amphibian populations are declining worldwide, and some people think pesticide use may be partly responsible (CNN News, 4-13-00). Other possible factors include habitat loss, exotic predators, pollution, and degradation of the ozone layer. A Georgia Congressman (Jack Kingston) is calling for a $2 million appropriation to investigate the causes of the amphibian decline. (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 3-30-00)

I am definitely in favor of further investigation. If amphibian populations are declining all over, something is wrong, and we ignore this signal at our peril. However, pesticides are the low-hanging fruit of public action. Let us not point the finger at pesticides too quickly because we may miss other factors that may be more important.

According to USDA, U.S. introduction of the Siberian moth would make us forget about gypsy moth problems. This pest is one of the top three economic pests in Russia, where it defoliates spruce, larch, and fir trees. The USDA is working to determine how the pest might come to the United States and ways to prevent the problem. Their strategy includes pheromone traps at U.S. ports of entry and maps of Siberian moth habitat in Russia (so we would know to be careful with products from those areas). (Ag. Research, 4-00)

 FQPA

The EPA has released the revised risk assessment for ethyl parathion; to no one's surprise, worker risks are potentially very high. Ethyl parathion is a 'hot' chemical that will put you in the hospital if you handle it carelessly.

The EPA uses the 'margin of exposure (MOE)' to evaluate worker risks to pesticides. A MOE of more than 100 is considered acceptable. The currently estimated MOE for ethyl parathion is '1' for mixer/loaders and applicators. There is also concern for workers who re-enter fields treated with ethyl parathion. Ethyl parathion is also 'very highly toxic' to birds, bees, small mammals, fish, and aquatic invertebrates.

I worked with ethyl parathion extensively while employed with EPA. A negotiated settlement eliminated many use patterns and restricted ethyl parathion to aerial application. The negotiation was somewhat distasteful (because the only players were EPA and the registrant), but I could not deny the uncomfortably small safety margins for many ethyl parathion use patterns. One grower in Pennsylvania told me that his children helped him apply ethyl parathion with backpack sprayers. I told him that he was the reason that EPA would apply further restrictions to the use of ethyl parathion. His actions were not illegal, but no one should apply ethyl parathion with a backpack sprayer.

There is a lesson here. If you use pesticides unsafely, the EPA is painted into a corner. We (pesticide applicators) want to demonstrate that further restrictions are not necessary because we know how to use powerful technology safely. When I gave my son a hatchet, he had to show me that he could use it responsibly. When a friend of his (a wild child) came to visit, we put the hatchet away. DON'T USE PESTICIDES IRRESPONSIBLY, AND DON'T GIVE THEM TO PEOPLE WHO WILL! [If you want to save aldicarb (Temik), do not use it to kill feral dogs/cats, and do not give Temik to your friends who will.]

Comments on the revised risk assessment are due May 1. Contact Karen Angulo (703-308-8004 or angulo.karen@epa.gov) for details.

Purely from my point of view: I will be surprised if ethyl parathion products remain available. The Agency is gunning for organophosphates, and ethyl parathion is the most toxic organophosphate available. The registrant may squeeze some additional time from EPA, but don't get stuck with a large inventory of ethyl parathion. (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 3-16-00)

The EPA is asking for comments on the revised risk assessment of phosmet (Imidan). The Agency has reduced the food safety factor from 10X to 3X due to additional data that indicate a lower dietary risk than originally estimated. Additionally, EPA considers environmental risks for phosmet to be relatively low, except for high bee toxicity. These findings are good news for peaches in the Southeast. After EPA pulled the plug on methyl parathion for peaches, peach growers switched to phosmet.

However, EPA still estimates significant occupational risks associated with phosmet. We hope to fund an extensive project to quantify occupational risks and identify when/where they occur. If significant risks are identified, the project should help us to recommend strategies to protect workers using phosmet.

Comments are due by May 19. Review the phosmet risk assessment at www.epa.gov/pesticides

 Revised risk assessments for disulfoton (Phorate) are available at www.epa.gov/pesticides Comments are due by May 9. (Federal Register (FR) 3-10-00)

 The EPA faces a difficult challenge in deciding how much of the population to protect. The EPA has chosen to regulate pesticides on the 99.9th percentile of exposure.

Although that concept seems complex, it is easily explained. If your consumption of apples is the 50th percentile, then 50 percent of the population eat fewer apples than you eat (and 50% eat more). A person in the 75th percentile (for apple consumption) eats more apples than 75 percent of the population. Someone in the 99.9th percentile eats more apples that 99.9 percentof the population; if you select 1,000 people, the person in the 99.9th percentile will eat more apples than the other 999 people do. Maybe you met this kid, she (or he) collected apples (or lemons or melons) from everybody else in the lunchroom at school and ate them.

If pesticides are applied to apples (or lemons or melons), eating more apples (or lemons or melons), may expose you to more pesticide. Consuming the pesticide residue on one apple is not dangerous, but suppose you eat 25 apples (or lemons or melons), every day (to keep 25 doctors away)? Should EPA protect the person that eats apples (or lemons or melons) at the 50th percentile, or should the regulations also protect the person that eats 50 apples (or lemons or melons) every day?

Some activist groups want EPA to regulate at the 100th percentile, meaning that you could eat an unlimited number of apples (or lemons or melons) and still have no risk from pesticide residues on the food. That point of view seems unreasonable. Eating an unlimited number of apples (or lemons or melons) every day could possibly kill for several reasons unrelated to pesticide use. Conversely, industry groups call the 99.9th percentile overly conservative. A person could also argue that the kid that collected all the apples (or lemons or melons) in the lunchroom should not be at additional risk from pesticides.

The point. If you restrict pesticides (or anything else) too much, you rob society of the benefits associated with that technology. On the other hand, if you do not regulate technology sufficiently, you may be exposing society to inordinate risks. I do not envy EPA the task of establishing pesticide restrictions.

Biotechnology

Representative D. Kucinich introduced a bill that would require all genetically modified food to be subject to the food additive review process of FDA. Additional legislation from Kucinich last year would require labeling of all genetically modified foods. Technically these statements are not true; almost all food has been genetically modified through plant breeding. Under this bill, industry would be required to pay for FDA testing. (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 3-16-00)

According to USDA, American farmers will plant significantly less acreage to genetically modified crops this year. A recent USDA survey indicates that plantings of genetically engineered corn will drop 24 percent; about 19 percent of the U.S. corn acreage is expected to be planted to genetically engineered corn (down from 25% in 1999). The causes for the corn decline are thought to be consumer resistance and a decline in pressure from European corn borer. U.S. acreage of genetically engineered cotton and soybeans are predicted to decline by a small margin. (AP 4-1-00)

Ralph Nader is calling for additional regulation of biotechnology. Nader is a well-known consumer activist and the presidential candidate of the Green Party (I did not even know we had such a party). Nader endorses regulatory policy proposed by the Council for Responsible Genetic, specifically:

1) end commercialization of genetically engineered products and hold corporations responsible for any negative consequences of products currently on the market,

2) abolish ownership of all forms of life (if this happens, you can kiss a lot of genetic research good-bye),

3) end corporate control over food and health (if you want this to happen, demand more funding for public research, i.e., universities),

4) strengthen public regulation of biotechnology.

I do not agree with all of these points, but I am concerned that the science of biotechnology is outpacing regulation. A look at the history of pesticides will reveal that we did considerable environmental damage and endangered human health before Congress enacted substantial regulation of pesticides.

New Tools

Georgia has issued a Special Local Need registration for in-state growers to use clomazone (Command) to control grass and dicot weeds in squash.

Look for 'Flycracker,' a new biodegradable pesticide, to control fly larvae. The larvicide causes some organs to dehydrate, and the adult fly cannot emerge. The active ingredients are carbohydrates that naturally degrade in soil and water. Initial tests at the University of Maryland looked promising. (Kan. Pesticide Newsletter via Alabama Pesticide Information, 3-16-00)

Spinosad and/or phloxine B (a red dye) may prove to be an effective alternative to malathion to control Mediterranean fruit fly. Currently, the discovery of this serious pest in the mainland United States results in widespread application of malathion, an organophosphate insecticide. Public concerns about malathion are causing problems for the program because it essential to prevent Med fly establishment on the mainland.

USDA scientists are investigating spinosad and phloxine B as a replacement for malathion. Early results indicate that these materials combined with bait can be effective against Med fly. Additionally, spinosad and phloxine B have much less impact on populations of beneficial insects. (Ag. Research, 4-00)

USDA scientists have identified corn lines that European corn borers find less attractive. European corn borer causes $350 million in losses each year, and additional economic/environmental costs are incurred with pesticide applications to control this pest. However, European corn borers lay fewer eggs on two lines of corn, B-96 and Illinois A. Scientists hope to introduce these repellent traits into corn lines with desirable agronomic traits. (Ag. Research, 4-00)

Federal News

If you want to know where your government dollars are going (and you have the guts to look), seek out the Federal Register. It is easy to find http://fr.cos.com/

The Federal Register is the ultimate source for federal pesticide regulations (and any others). If you are not endowed with great patience (and a lot of time), subscribe to the Georgia Pest Management Newsletter.

If you need to know the latest on methyl bromide, visit http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/mb/mebrweb.htm

The EPA 6(a)(2) regulation seems to be in conflict with attorney-client privileged information. According to 6(a)(2), pesticide registrants are required to report any information that concerns a risk associated with a pesticide. For example, if a company hears about a fish kill associated with one of their pesticides, the company must report the incident to EPA. What if an expert who discovered the risk information was retained by an attorney who was working for the pesticide registrant? Other laws protect information that passes between an attorney and their client. The EPA says that pesticide companies must report the information, but industry organizations do not agree. Look for this issue to be battled out in court. (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 3-23-00)

The EPA wants to resolve the 'inert' issue within a year. Pesticides are made of two things, active ingredients (they control the pest) and inert ingredients (usually added to make the pesticide mix with water, stick to plants, etc.). Companies must disclose active ingredients on the pesticide label, but most inerts do not have to be identified. Public action groups argue (and they may be right) that inerts should be disclosed because the inerts can also pose threats to human health. Industry contends that identification of inerts would compromise some market advantages. The industry may also have a point, but I find it difficult to believe that competitors could not easily guess or determine the inert components of any pesticide. (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 3-23-00)

The appearance of any trade name in this newsletter is not intended to endorse that product nor convey negative implications of unmentioned products.

Dear Readers:

The Georgia Pest Management Newsletter is a monthly journal for extension agents, extension specialists, and others interested in pest management news. It provides information on legislation, regulations, and other issues affecting pest management in Georgia.

Do not regard the information in this newsletter as pest management recommendations. Consult the Georgia Pest Control Handbook, other extension publications, or appropriate specialists for this information.

Your input in this newsletter is encouraged.

If you wish to be added to the mailing list, just call us at 706-542-1765

Or write us:

Department of Entomology
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602
E-mail: pguillebeau@bugs.ent.uga.edu

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http://www.ces.uga.edu/ces/wnews.html

Sincerely:

Paul Guillebeau, Assistant Professor & Extension Entomologist